On December 31, 2018, a purebred Saanen goat sired by a Nubian buck at the Alaminos Goat Farm in Alaminos, Laguna, gave birth to six kids, tying the Guinness World Record of a goat giving birth to sextuplets. Moreover, from November 2018 to February 2019, AGF had recorded 32 sets of triplets. That’s no mean feat for a dairy goat farm in the Philippines because most goats give birth to only one to two kids at a time.
The Alaminos Goat Farm was established in 2005 by the late Valeriano “Rene” L. Almeda which he managed with the help of his two sons Art and Toti. It is acknowledged as the most successful dairy goat farm in the Philippines today.
The sextuplets and the 32 sets of triplets, no doubt, are in a big way the product of superior genetics. Rene, who died on January 11, 2019, did not mind paying a very high price for a superior breeder, whether male or female. We remember him telling us he had to pay $4,000 for an outstanding buck from the United States that also cost him another thousand dollars for airfreight. That was how serious he was in paying attention to the importance of genetics.
Another important factor in achieving success in dairy goat farming, according to Rene, is balanced nutrition at an affordable cost. Rene and his sons had a creative strategy in cutting feed cost for their goats (both adult and juvenile) which are mostly confined in comfortable quarters above ground. Sixty percent of the animals’ daily diet comes from the farm’s Salad Garden which consists of 30 big plots planted to Indigofera zollingeriana, mulberry, napier, malunggay and Centrosema, a vine legume. The forage crops are harvested every day from each plot and fed to the confined animals. Forty percent of the daily diet, on the other hand, is pelleted concentrates, 30% of which is powdered Indigofera leaves. The daily ration costs much less than when all the feeds consist of concentrates.
Superior genetics and good nutrition produce high milk yield. Art, who takes care of production, says that their milkers (both purebred and crosses) produce an average of two liters a day. But there are some high performers that produce 3 to 4 liters a day. Four liters when sold to the supermarkets and other distributors fetch P560 at P140 per liter. End-users who buy their supplies from distributors usually pay P170 per liter. AGF sells not only bottled fresh milk but also goat cheese (kesong puti) and goat’s milk ice cream. Toti relates that in earlier years, the big buyers were mostly Chinese in the Binondo area in Manila. Today, many non-Chinese Filipinos have learned to love goat’s milk too. By the way, in 2008 AGF made history when its milk was the first FDA-approved fresh goat’s to enter the supermarket trade.
As of May 2019, AGF is home to 600 goats. These include 100 Saanens, 150 Nubians, 200 Dairy Crosses, 100 Boers, 50 Oberhasli and counting. Rene believed in hybrid vigor so that he started Alaminos Anglo Dairy Line (AADL) and the Anglo-Saanen Cross program. Rene and Art have observed that the dairy crosses have been consistently delivering milk for the past ten years now at AGF. Hybrid vigor is in great measure responsible for the excellent performance of the crosses, making goat dairying profitable under the wet and dry season condition in the tropics.
The production and marketing system is now well established at AGF and the brothers Art and Toti are very confident that the goat dairy farm started by their father will continue to grow and innovate.